Abu Dhabi: Thousands of camels were registered for various competitions at Al Dhafrah Camel Festival — now in its fourth season — which is all set to offer prizes worth Dh35 million, it was announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

The annual festival is held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach).

"Al Dhafrah Festival aims to preserve the heritage of the region and enhance its position through the implementation of an innovative renaissance and development plan," said Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui, Chairman of the Organising Committee, Advisor for Culture and Heritage in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Director General of Adach.

"From this perspective, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, met with the winners of the festival's previous sessions, congratulating them and wishing them luck and success in their ambition to enhance the reputation of the UAE at both local and regional festivals and events.

Vital support

"His Highness also asserted his desire to support and strengthen the culture of heritage festivals, stating that Al Dhafrah Festival has achieved an important advancement for the people of the UAE, and has enhanced the reputation of the state both at home and abroad.

"This is largely due to the exclusiveness of the largest camel festival of Mazayina, which enjoyed the participation of a number of different Arab countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council," he added.

The 10-day event, which will run from tomorrow to December 25, will also include a traditional souk with over 180 stands offering visitors a wide range of traditional handicraft.

These will also showcase traditional performances. Additionally, the festival will see the return of its camel auction, date packaging contest and its anticipated "Al Dhafrah through the eyes of Photographers" competition.

"We are always keen to promote Liwa and Al Gharbia through various programmes and initiatives... As a result of the combined efforts of Adach, the Abu Dhabi government and various organisations located there, festivals such as the Al Dhafrah Camel Festival have begun to receive international recognition and coverage," Al Mazroui said.

At a glance

What: Al Dhafrah Camel Festival
When: Thursday December 16 to Saturday, December 25
For more information visit www.aldhafrafestival.ae